SAN FRANCISCO — Yahoo is laying off 2,000 employees as new chief executive Scott Thompson eliminates jobs that don't fit into his plans for turning around the beleaguered Internet company.
The cuts announced Wednesday represent about 14 percent of the 14,100 workers employed by Yahoo.
The housecleaning marks Yahoo's sixth mass layoff during the past four years under three CEOs. This one will inflict the deepest cuts yet, eclipsing a cost-cutting spree in which 1,500 workers were laid off in late 2008 as Yahoo tried to cope with the recession.
The previous purges under Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang and his successor, Carol Bartz, boosted earnings. But trimming the payroll didn't reverse a revenue slump, which has disillusioned investors yearning for growth at a time when more advertising is flowing to the Internet.
The cuts are part of an overhaul aimed at focusing on what Thompson says are Yahoo's strengths while trying to address its weaknesses in the increasingly important mobile computing market.
Thompson is betting that Yahoo will be able to sell more advertising if it's more astute in analyzing the personal information it collects from the roughly 700 million people who visit its Web site each month. He also is looking for ways to improve the products that it makes for smartphones and tablet computers, a goal that might require hiring more specialists in mobile technology.
Yahoo also has been exploring selling a service, called Right Media, that helps place ads around the Web. If a deal gets done, that would enable Yahoo to shed even more workers. No details on the Right Media discussions were provided Wednesday.
Thompson made his move three months after Yahoo lured him away from a job running eBay's online payment service, PayPal.
The layoffs "are an important next step toward a bold new Yahoo — smaller, nimbler, more profitable and better equipped to innovate as fast as our customers and our industry require," Thompson said in a statement.
As traumatic as the cuts might be for the laid-off workers, Yahoo needed to prune its payroll to show Wall Street that the company can be run more efficiently than it has been in recent years, said Standard & Poor's Capital IQ analyst Scott Kessler.
Last year, Yahoo produced revenue of $353,000 per employee. Its two biggest rivals, Internet search leader Google and social networking leader Facebook, each generated revenue of $1.2 million per employee. Microsoft had about $800,000 in revenue per employee last year, while Intel posted $540,000 in revenue per employee, according to S&P's data.
"The bottom line is that Yahoo has a new CEO who has obviously taken a very comprehensive and fresh look at the company," Kessler said.